Tag: wool

The Closest Thing I Know To Being Pregnant • The Cobbler Cowl Pattern Release

I feel like I’ve been pregnant these past few months. I was creating something special. There were days when I felt stressed and frustrated. Sometimes, I felt worried. But other days, a strange bout of confidence and euphoria would take over! These last few days felt like the final hours in the hospital bed. I wanted to scream and pull my hair out. I wanted those who were supporting me to be close, and yet I could feel myself squeezing their hands. Today, my baby is welcomed into the world. Today is The Cobbler Cowl pattern release day. Congratulations, it’s a…cowl?

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I began this concept back in January, out of the fed up-ness of trying to make things for other people. I wanted to make something for myself. Strangely enough, not a lot of planning went into the original version. I just started knitting. I liked it, and other people liked it too. While I do alright with likes on Instagram, I started noticing more people leaving comments. Strangers in public who normally minded their own business began asking questions. It felt like a winner, thus it was destined to be shared.

So, I drafted up the pattern. I edited, and I revised. I scrapped entire documents to start over multiple times. My yarn friend Kate was supportive enough to not only test knit the pattern in its early stages of being constructed (mostly through math and visualization), but chose a wonderful colour combination of her yarn and allowed me to use it as the sample for the official pattern. It has certainly been a dream to be collaborating on a project like this, as if releasing my own pattern wasn’t thrilling enough.

I managed to recruit a few more test knitters to test the math on the other sizes. Lucky me somehow drew the interest of another fairly popular yarn dyer. She was a fantastic tester. She chose amazing hand dyed yarns and posted well-crafted photos with captions and comments that generously promoted me. I later found out she won’t even get to wear the cowl because it’s not cold enough where she lives! Seems like she’s using it as a display piece to showcase her yarn however, which again works out in my favour.

Alas, I present to you, The Cobbler Cowl. Now available in the shop and on Ravelry at a discounted rate for the first week only! Furthermore, the first 25 buyers will receive a 20% off coupon code for Fidley Dyeworks yarn!

Get the pattern on Ravelry, or in the WWK Shop.

And, don’t forget your yarn!

Make sure to Instagram your projects with #wintersweatherknits and tag me @wintersweatherknits so I can see them!

 

Poke…Poke…Poke…AAGGHH • Felted Alpaca

Every so often I like to take a break from knitting to try a new craft. A lot of the time I struggle to really get into it the way I do with knitting. The jury is still out with needle felting though. On the one hand, I bled at least 3 separate times doing this project. On the other, the process and final results are incredibly intriguing! After learning the techniques from the kid’s felting kit last time, I was ready to level up with a llama/alpaca kit. And thus, I made a felted alpaca.

It didn’t seem as easy this time around for some reason. I felt powerful with each poke the last time I did it. Some of my pieces this time just didn’t seem to felt. It required a lot of extra work, hence, the bleeding. At one point I received a raspy, “What ARE you DOING?!” from my mom. I suppose all she could hear from the other room was -poke poke poke poke POKE POKE AAAGGHH-. Is it the wool? Do felting needles get dull and need to be changed? Without the very specific guidelines of the instruction book, trying to achieve the right proportions for each piece was a struggle as well. It took a lot of effort to make each leg the same length, and I’m finding some to be squishier than others…

Right here is where I stopped the first time because I was too scared to keep poking or add a face. Usually this is where I mess up and ruin entire projects. What I have learned with felting is that more time and finessing tends to make projects turn out better. I sucked it up and refined a little more, and now he’s a little more alpaca-like!

This guy’s a little fragile, but still pretty cute! He’s Paul’s new pet. Next time I think I’m going to try to make something a little more useful. Maybe some stitch markers…? Stay tuned. For now, the team’s got a new felted alpaca pet. Name suggestions, anyone?

“That’s the beauty of it. You’ve got the rest of your life to knit them all.” • Pay It Forward Shawl

The days are getting longer, and I’m beginning to wake up to sunshine. Looking out the window, you could assume Spring is here. Only the keen observer would notice that the trees are bare, and the dew on the grass was frost just a few hours earlier. What exactly does one do in this rather confusing situation? Well, you make a Spring-inspired shawl, of course!

A little while ago, I got my hands on a skein of merino sock yarn with this lovely pink and green speckle, and a skein of tonal army green to match. Looking at them in my stash gave me butterflies (and not just because of the Spring colours)! I browsed so many amazing patterns, but struggled to commit to just one. I sought reassurance from Kate and received an unexpectedly wise response: “That’s the beauty of it. You’ve got the rest of your life to knit them all.”

Alas, I settled on Pay It Forward, designed by one of my favourite local designers, Wolf and Faun Knits. While I had originally planned to knit a shawl with open lace and floral designs, this was the pattern I could imagine knit up with my yarn. The majority of the shawl is a simple garter stitch, with the occasional row of eyelets. The uniqueness comes from the asymmetrical drape and the picot edging.

Of course, I gave the shawl my own WWK twist. I used needles 2 sizes up from the recommended size in order to achieve more drape. Also, I wanted to maximize the use of my yarn, so about halfway through I went rogue on the pattern and made up some extra rows of striping. I believe my final product is a fair bit larger than the pattern intended. It turned out beautifully though, and I still get butterflies when I look at it. More so, it’s lovely to support local in the both yarn and pattern departments.

I’m going to be rocking this shawl everywhere while the weather is in this perfect Winter-Spring transition state!

((On a frustrated and grumpy sidenote, I’m so upset that the quality of the pictures I have been uploading for the blog is so terrible! They look beautiful when I export them, but the minute they get uploaded they turn blurry and gray. I have been trying so hard to figure out why and modify appropriately, but nothing is working so far. So, sorry. Even Instagram is maintaining the quality of my photos better, so most likely I’ll be uploading more photos there and reducing the number of photos included in the blogs. If anyone has suggestions, please share.))

The Taylor Mittens

Happy (BC) Family Day to my maker family! Hope you’re all enjoying yourselves whether you have the day off or not. Today’s post is dedicated to someone from another one of my families, namely, my work family. She has been so supportive of my craft, and her reactions to my projects remind me to value my work. Part of what makes my hobby so special is getting to keep my friends warm, so this project was incredibly pleasing. Hopefully I will get more opportunities to be part of collaborations like this one. For now I’ve just got these Taylor Mittens, named after Taylor, for Taylor.

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It all started one evening, while program planning for work. Taylor mentioned how cold her hands were. I offered her my Tree Mittens and they warmed her up almost immediately! By the end of the night she wanted a pair of her own. Since starting work with her, I’ve come to value her as a colleague and friend. Thus, making these for her also brought me a ton of warmth!

I’ve discovered a love of taking custom orders right down to the specific fibre type and colour. I let her describe exactly what she wanted her mittens to look like, and had the yarn dyed up by Kate at Fidley Dyeworks. Originally, I didn’t want to take custom orders because I wanted to create what I wanted. On the other hand, the collaboration and exchange of ideas is incredibly motivating. Even though there’s a chance I won’t be fully in support of someone else’s idea, it’s super cool to see what other people come up with. I have yet to come across a customer whose ideas I didn’t love!

The yarn was magical, as always. Knit up in a basic stockinette stitch, the speckles blend to give an almost watercolour-like effect. And every so often there was a little blue or orange speckle, which was a happy byproduct of the dye powder. Although Taylor had asked for a plain design (I guess she’s not into trees…), I decided to add a special cuff, to make them a true WWK design. It is double layered for warmth, and makes the yarn look extra snowy.

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And of course, she also asked for the finger holes. Apparently I’m not the only one that likes the convenience of not having to rip off my mittens to use my phone!

I’m unofficially calling these The Taylor Mittens. Have a look at the new “Custom Orders” section of the shop for details, and order something of your own!

SO GREEN Tree Mittens

Early last year whilst perusing knitting stitch patterns and designs, I found a chart for a fairly simple tree design. I had wanted to incorporate it into a pair of socks for myself but chart work always left me confused and frustrated. I saved the link in hopes that one day I would find the determination to figure it out.

During this time, I discovered a knitting friend, Kate. Kate dyes yarn in her home and has, on occasion, asked for my suggestions for new colour ideas. She has since learned that my suggestion is almost always GREEN. We would have discussions about colour combinations and I would leave expecting to return to a beautiful new green skein with flashes of black and gold. Yet somehow, I was always met with a gorgeous but disappointingly not-green skein, with maybe a speckle or two of something kind of resembling green. For Christmas, I was surprised with a skein of single ply SW Merino, entirely covered in the most rich, semi-solid green you could imagine. It’s SO GREEN, every time I look at it I can just imagine Kate saying, “Are you happy now?!?” She even let me name it for her shop (Austen–a somewhat roundabout tribute to my “ah mah” (grandma). We have distance, language, and cultural barriers preventing us from interacting, however I feel connected to her through our mutual love of crafting. She doesn’t have an English name, but Austen is the name of a song that makes me think of her).

The gloriousness of this skein brought all the tree-inspiration back to me. I had since completed a pattern requiring chart work, so I felt much more prepared to tackle it again. Turns out this chart is not as daunting as it seemed a year ago. I instantly decided on mittens, because you can’t let such beautiful yarn hide inside your boots!

I decided to make them top-down, which is a first for me. I like this method way better as it allows me to try them on as I go, so they fit much more snugly on my hands than most mittens. I drafted up my own pattern for future reference because I have learned to write EVERYTHING down when making new projects.

The final product is so smooshy and so green, and the tree design suits the yarn perfectly. As an added bonus, I made little button holes over the index finger and thumb so they can peek through to use on my phone while I’m out in the cold! So typical of my generation, eh? I definitely would have reconsidered making/wearing mittens if this wasn’t an option.

You can find Kate and her yarns over at www.fidleydyeworks.com. Austen should be up there soon, and you can check out the now-sold-out colourway named after me!

Kate, if you’re reading this, I appreciate you so much! Thanks for thinking of me and finally getting over your green-shyness. (: